Sony’s 2023 HT-S2000 3.1-channel sound bar is positioned as a compact mid-range Dolby Atmos/DTS:X audio add-on designed to get the most convenience and enjoyment when paired with one of the company’s Bravia XR TV models, but we found it brings real bang for buck with third party brand TVs as well.

Ringing in at a $498 street retail, the Sony HT-S2000 isn’t the least expensive sound bar in this price range, but it significantly outperforms many of those one-piece lower priced options on the market, while bringing big expansive front surround sound, deep bass, excellent vocal clarity and surprisingly good musicality for a component that’s this compact.

The unit doesn’t include a wireless subwoofer, like some contenders in the class, but it doesn’t lack for dynamic punch from the sound bar’s pair of internal subwoofers. We found bass in both rock and jazz music performances to be deep and clear without distracting distortion, and for movie watching, it didn’t make the walls rattle but it didn’t disappoint us with a boxy hollow dimension we hear so often in this product category, either.

In fact, the theatrical sound stage created by the internal processing system was wide and clear enough that it forced me to walk up to my adjacent home theater tower speakers, just to make sure I hadn’t accidentally connected to them in stereo mode.


The Sony HT-S2000 is nicely compact. It measures 2.5 inches high, which is low enough to fit below most table-top stand positioned TV screens, and 31.5 inches long, which is narrow enough to fit between the feet of many 49-inch and larger TV stands. The depth is just under 5 inches, which again is no longer than the reach of most claw-type TV feet. The sound bar is made of a matte-black textured plastic with a matching black perforated-plastic grill that allows the blue LED power indicator and white digital readout to clearly shine through to indicate the the selected input, volume and other other settings.

When powered on, the selected input (either “TV” or “BT” for Bluetooth) shines through. Other than that, the sound bar nicely does not visually stand out in the room.

To operate everything, Sony includes a diminutive 8-buttom remote that fits comfortably in the hand. We also noticed that when connected to the TV via eARC, the third-party TV’s remote control we used for testing (in this case a Roku remote) worked to operate volume and turn the system off and on. In addition, Sony provides a touch panel on top of the sound bar to control key functions manually. You can even access a Sony app to control the sound from a connected mobile device.


Sony HT-S2000 rear inputs

The Sony HT-S2000 is equipped with a single enhanced Audio Return Channel (eARC) HDMI port, an optical (S/PDIF) port and a USB input. If the television is connected to a similarly configured eARC TV output, users will be able to play back sound from media players, Blu-ray players etc connected to other HDMI inputs on the back of the television set to have the audio pass through to the sound bar.

The Spartan design of the singular 3.1-channel sound bar doesn’t require much more to get a pretty convincing sense of immersion in a movie or musical performance, but if the set happens to be placed in a large room or you crave a lot of dynamics from your listening experience, you can add-on the Sony SA-RS3S ($298, sold separately) wireless rear surround speakers to fill in the missing sound effects from behind you. Additionally, you can deepen the bottom end punch and vibration by purchasing either Sony’s SA-SW3 ($348) or SA-SW5 ($598) wireless subwoofers to really rock the house. But, again, we think most people will be surprised at how much bass they get right out of the box.

In our test, we connected the Sony HT-S2000 directly to the eARC port on a 6 Series TCL 4K mini-LED Roku TV and everything synced and matched as seamlessly as we could expect. We had the same painless experience pairing an Android phone via Bluetooth 5.2 to the sound bar. This is important, since the HT-S2000 lacks any on-board app support for music services, meaning that if you want to listen to a service like Amazon Music, DEEZER or Spotify, you’ll have to play it from your HT-S2000 connected mobile device (or a supported music app installed on your connected smart TV).

The sound bar alone is comprised of five built-in speakers powered by a 250-watt amplifier. This includes three front firing drivers with a dedicated center channel and two built-in subwoofers. It has ports positioned on the left and right ends.

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Although as mentioned the sound can process Dolby Atmos and DTS:X object-oriented surround sound, it lacks up-firing drivers to create reflected over head sound effects. Nevertheless the expansive sound stage those formats deliver through the internal speaker array in plenty to fill the front of the room very nicely.


In addition to Dolby Atmos and DTS:X the Sony HT-S2000 is equipped with an X-Balanced rectangular design that maximizes the sound delivery for a true sense of immersion. When connected to a supporting TV and media player (like a Blu-ray Disc player), the eARC connection will enable pass through of Dolby Atmos and DTS:X sound along with high quality Dolby TrueHD and DTS Master Audio surround sound codecs, for a greater sense of clarity and realism. Note, however, that all of the components in the chain will have to support eARC to get those less-compressed sound formats. While it will still work, ARC ports alone will be too narrow, requiring the sound to be transcoded to a compressed format, like Dolby Digital Plus, to have the signal fit the bandwidth.

Sony also includes its S-Force Pro Front Surround processing system to envelope the listener in sound from both sides.

If the television doesn’t support ARC, or it lacks an HDMI port altogether, the supplied optical port should get the job done. Just don’t expect the latest surround sound formats to pass through in all their glory over that legacy connection, however.


As mentioned, the Sony HT-S2000 was more than competent at presenting an immersive sight and sound experience from movies, television programs and streaming music in various forms.

In all cases, the presentation was nicely disperse in our moderately sized testing space.

We found the roar of rocket engines to be impactful and convincing streaming the 2021 version of “Dune” in Dolby Atmos from Vudu through our connected smart TV. We found turning the volume about half way up made for the best experience without being too loud for others in adjacent rooms.

Dialog was clear in most settings, but Sony offers a “Voice” control that helps to push dialog forward slightly for even better clarity. A “Night” mode button helps to narrow background sounds and effects to reduce the overall volume while keeping voices understandable.

We enjoyed a nice sense of musicality the sound bar presented when watching “Pink Floyd’s Delicate Sound of Thunder” filmed concert performance.

When streaming music from a Bluetooth connected Android phone we found some shrill qualities in high hats from the compressed signal but over all the clarity was quite good. Mid-range tones were robust, as was the ringing of rhythm guitars in Cat Steven’s classic “Peace Train”, with only a slight sense of shallow boxiness at the accented drum beats.

It’s on these loud peak points where the internal subwoofers show the most strain, and those music fans with more sophisticated ears might want to go for one of the optional wireless subwoofers to help fill out the overall dynamics of the performance.


For $498 there are a number of sound bar options to consider, but for situations where space is limited and home owners might not want the additional clutter a subwoofer or surround speakers present, the Sony HT-S2000 delivers a surprisingly engaging home theater sound experience that lifts the experience that typical flat-panel TV speakers deliver alone. Additionally, when the sound bar is paired with one of Sony’s new Bravia XR TVs, the integration of sound with the television’s quick settings feature makes the user experience that much more engaging.

Then, if you want to later, you can always add on rear surround speakers and a subwoofer to kick everything up a notch.

We therefore rate the Sony HT-S2000 a recommended buy and award its 4 out of 5 hearts.

The Sony HT-S2000 sound bar used for this review was a company loan.

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By Greg Tarr

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